On June 30, 2021, WPP hosted an investor event entitled Building Better Futures "to discuss our environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategy and how we are helping clients grow inclusively and sustainably." A few days later, the PRWeek article "WPP's Mark Read on ESG and turning down clients who don't ‘do the right thing' quoted Read as saying "demand is off the scale" for ESG-related work and that issues like "climate change, racial equity, privacy and responsible marketing" are increasingly important to brands, but also matter to employees who "want to work for companies with whom they share the same values." So, as advertising reckons with a talent drain in the midst of renewed scrutiny of its chronic failure to diversify its workforce, will ESG help agencies forge a new path forward or instead simply become just another brand promoting style over substance?
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